Saturday, December 11, 2010

This Time

So I tell myself that This Time, I will get up early and do all the Mother things that I read other mothers are doing for their kids. Making healthy nutritious breakfasts, spending hours doing school with each child while baking bread and washing clothes at the same time in a sparkling clean house. Then baking cookies and delectable cakes in the afternoon while listening to them practice their piano and violin. And to end it all we cook dinner together, read the Bible and have story time before bed. This Time.
 Well that didn't work out, it looked more like this:
Got up, girls are playing with their dolls, still in pajamas because Mama was asleep and didn't wake up first. Mama says "get dressed and let's get started with school" to be met with youngest daughter flopping on the floor yelling "why??? I don't want to go anywhere today!" Because usually we are always running out the door to do poorly planned activities or errands. Ok, I need to plan more, I say mentally to myself as I yell going down the hall to the kitchen "because you are supposed to get dressed every day, its a rule!" and hear from my little mouthpiece "but we are homeschooled, we are supposed to be in our night clothes all day!". Now where did she get that idea from? I get dressed without fail as soon as I get up in the morning (or mid morning) and usually tell them to get dressed too. Oh well, off to be perfect Homeschool Mom. I go in the kitchen, which is a mess because no one cleaned it the night before and I had gone to be with a migraine while everyone watched tv. The kids father keeps cable because it is a good babysitter when I have a marathon migraine and he is shrimping and can't take them shopping or out to eat. We impart such good morals and principals around here you see. So I clean the kitchen while getting the ingredients for a homemade pancake breakfast. I am out of instant mix, and out of half the ingredients for my scratch recipe. Ok, bananas with peanut butter it is. Oop, out of bananas, so its noodles and sauce for breakfast. Oh well it is almost lunchtime anyway and they like that for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Homemade nutritious breakfast fail.
 But school I can conquer. The girls are dressed, but their hair is a mess and I doubt they brushed their teeth and the son is in the garage doing whatever because he is in college and doesn't have any classes right now, so annoying me is his top objective. Just kidding. Not really. Just his presence puts a kink in my plans because he wants me to go to some hardware store and help him pick out stain while the girls want to play outside because he is in the garage. Can you see where I am going here? I yell, in all sweetness of course "go do your school, NOW" so they hightail it to their desks in the newly rearranged school room that is all Feng Sui now or something like that, and should be able to say their times tables backwards and forwards.
THEN it happens. I stop to check my email. An hour later I come up out of that black hole of the internet and  I realize that no one has bothered me. So I spring up to see the sauce dried and almost burnt, the girls playing with their dolls and the son playing frisbee with the dog. Hmmm. School fail.
Well, we will do better tomorrow when I get up at 7am but for now I have to go the grocery store and as I better not go hungry let's stop for sushi and Japanese. I'll cook a great dinner tomorrow with home made bread because this time I forgot to put the ingredients in the bread maker. Next time I will be a better Homeschool Mom making nutritious meals and teaching deep theological mysteries to my kids, but for today I will load them in the car and go all over town, telling them stories of my life between singing at the top of our lungs to Christian rock and playing in parks that I can't stand to pass by without letting them play on the playground or letting the hairy dog run free in some woods. And I will hold them in my arms while I get a latte and smile while I show them a new vegetable in the market or read a new recipe at the bookstore my son wants to stop in and then we will read what the statue in the square is famous for while we get a cupcake from a little hole in the wall store. This Time, I will just be me with my kids and watch them smile and listen when my son says "I want the faith you have Mama" because we talk about Jesus all day. This Time is precious to me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Useless Days

I hate being sick. But it seems that at least 5 days a month, and that is minimum, are spent in bed. I have migraines that debilitate me to the point that I cannot get out of bed except to throw up. Nice huh? I hope you aren't eating breakfast or anything, sorry for being so graphic! But there it is, I waste several days a month in bed. You say there are medications for that out there and you are right. But some of them don't work on severe migraines and some of them are too dangerous to take. I happen to be one of the rare people who read the insert in the medicine box. You know, the one that tells you the outcome of the clinical tests. Some of the reading is scarier than a Stephen King novel. But the migraine ones are the ones that scare me.

My father died at age 51, an  age that is sneaking up on me in the next decade, of heart failure after years of heart disease that started in his 30's. My uncles, his brothers, have all had heart disease and multiple bypass surgeries. My grandmother died of heart disease. So I am thinking that gives me a history of heart disease in my immediate family right? Maybe I am wrong but that kinda lines up with the warnings on the box that say "do not take if there is a history of heart disease in your family". But according to the logic of a neurologist here in Savannah, Georgia, that is just in theory. Theory huh? I guess the people who died a sudden death in the clinical trials after taking the meds are just dead in theory right? Absurd. But yet this is the position most physicians take. Well, it won't happen to my patients because it is easier for me to write a prescription in the 10 minutes I allotted you for  your insurance payment of 190.00 and if I take any more time with you I will not meet my quota of several thousand a day income I need for my lifestyle. So take a pill and run along like a good girl and let Dr. take the next patient. Yeah, I may sound a little bitter here. But I know that I have 3 kids that depend on me and  I will not take cocaine or drive while drinking much less take a prescription pill that will risk my life also. Call me paranoid.

So here I am , without any investigation into why I get these migraines on specific days of the month, like say those definite hormonal fluctuation days that I can chart, and am told to take a dangerous pill. So I suffer each month because being in bed for 48 hours is preferable than risking a sudden heart attack. Hopefully, one day I will find a doctor that will look into this but I will probably hit menopause and stop having migraines before they do, cause doctors are a little too busy to worry about a woman's headache.

And then here I am sick with a rancorous cold that makes my eyes and face burn, along with exhaustion and a need to sleep 12 hours at a time. It is 1pm EST and I am in bed writing this. My kids are at the inlaws, getting no school done because no one knows how to open a book unless I tell them it seems! But that is the way of the world isn't it? We usually have to be made to to do the unpleasant things. And school is not fun unless Mama is teaching it. So, no school accomplished. It is Christmas time and there are no presents being bought, no groceries being hunted and gathered, no Christmas mantle being put up or any cookies being baked. 2 days in the bed, wasted. How do you recuperate from wasted days? You don't get a make up day in life do you?
So I see that in the future, as in tomorrow, I will be running around like a chicken with her head cut off if I am able to leave this bed of sickness. Also, washing the bedsheets along with the other loads of laundry that didn't get washed these last 2 days and cleaning the house that looks like a gang of villains used it as their hideout. All to make up for the useless days I spent in bed sick.

There is no use in complaining, all the work will be doubled, I will be weak feeling and probably grumpy which will be my responsibility not to inflict on my innocent children who have been deprived of my presence for the last 2 days, maybe 3 if I don't start feeling better. But I hope you heard in this long post of complaining the blessings. No? You can't see them clearly? I didn't sound thankful at all? I am sorry, let me tell you how I really feel.

My life is blessed because I am:

Living in a country where I can pick up the phone and go to a doctor.
Have a life long enough to go through menopause
Having the freedom to say that I don't agree with my doctor and choose another
Having a home to live in
Having children to miss me when I am in bed sick
Having decorations to decorate my house with
Having money to go grocery shopping
Having an abundance of food to shop for without limits
Having a bed to sleep in that has covers and pillows
Having the health to be able to do the chores that are ahead of me
Having a Savior to celebrate His birth
there are more blessings, like having a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, a car to go shopping in and others of the ilk but the most important one is the last one because without Him, I would have no other blessings. He is the keeper, the founder and giver of all blessings. I am so grateful that I was born in America, that I have the ability to work, to have a family and home. I have to remember this as I look at the mess the kids made attending to their needs while I couldn't and be grateful that they had everything they needed. God could have so easily put me in another country, living in a mud hut, praying for enough rice and clean water to feed my kids. I probably would be dead by now at my age, or killed in an insurgency but God was gracious and gave me a life of ease compared to millions of others in the world. Why? Why was I chosen for this life and allowed the luxuries of plenty? I am not rich by any means and we struggle to pay for our bills and extras but there is always enough to eat, the ability to work and the freedom of expressing anything we desire. I live a protected life, even in this sickbed, I am blessed. This I pray that I remember everyday.  There really are no useless days if you remember everything that you are given by Him.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Different Kind of Life

Tonight we started the celebration of my daughter's birthday which is tomorrow. We love pretending we are in England, one of our dream places to visit, so we went to dinner at a restaurant called "The Sixpence Pub" in downtown Savannah. It has the authentic feel of an English pub. Bwah ha ha ha! I know that sounds ridiculous doesn't it because we have never seen the inside of an authentic English pub aside from what we have seen on TV. But suffice it to say that it makes us think we are in an authentic pub. My daughter is turning 11 tomorrow. That is when it struck me. I have a 19 year old who is all of the following: A successful campaign manager to a candidate for a statewide position, something that is virtually unheard of, yet there it is and he also managed student projects for a gubernatorial candidate, 2 senators, and a Congressman in Arkansas through a company he started to protect the interest of a national non-profit organization. He has 3.9 GPA in college, he has been hired by said non-profit company to travel for the next 6 months directing programs in at least 10 states, he is an Eagle Scout, can play 2 instruments great including the bagpipes and can at least pull a song out of 3 more instruments. He was homeschooled, rides 4 wheelers, has a redneck truck, works with his Dad on his shrimp boat and can quote CS Lewis, JRRToilken and the Bible like a theologian. He also picks on his sisters who are about 7 - 12 years younger than him and is a mentor to several young men. He can sew costumes and sings out loud, drives crazy (which I don't approve of but obviously was not a good role model) and was saved at age 6.
I could go on and on listing his awards and accomplishments but you get the idea. He reads his sisters The Hobbit and A Christmas Carol because he loves the stories and they do too. He taught them to sword fight when the youngest was 2. He is my Nanny. My daughters love him and feel safe with him. My girls are avid Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fans, my oldest loves to read biographies and mysteries. They love to travel and will jump in the car and go anywhere. I woke them up one night last year the day after Christmas and said we are going to New York, 22 hours away to see snow. They rolled out bed and jumped in the car and asked if the dog could come! They love museums and art shows, well the youngest likes it if she has a kids area in the art museum! They build cities and towns for their American Girl dolls and invent plays to perform for them.
As I looked at my youngest in the rest room of the English pub, she asked me something, I don't remember what, but it made me realize that I have given my children a very different upbringing than I had and even very different from most people I know. They have been raised to explore and dig into everything and anything that interest them. Although in our homeschool they have to do school, we do it differently, depending on what I need to do that day, so they learn flexibility and are not chained to a routine. I have always heard that children need and love routine and maybe that is true, but I see in my children creativity and curiosity that seems to be lacking in the kids I see that have a very structured life of get up , do school, do activity, go home, play video games, eat dinner, go to bed. repeat.
My kids are not allowed to play video games or computer games. They can watch movies, but not TV shows except cooking shows, or Scooby Doo. We have 3 computers in the house and they have facebooks and emails, carefully monitored. I have a program a man in our former church gave to me when my son was about 13 or so, that can pull every image that has ever been on the computer and you can ask it to display them. I told my son we had that and I have not ever had a problem with porn with him. Of course I told him regularly, like once a week in a loving and semi non violent way, what porn was (Satan's best line of attack to males), and its purpose (to destroy sex for the man, so that he became perverted and sordid) and that Satan hated  him so he wants him to be addicted to sex and porn. My son has had the opportunity to mentor to young boys and young men about the dangers of porn and his heart breaks to see them stumble around in it. I found out that he was talking to others about staying away from it about 2 years ago and knew that it was God's grace that saved him from that pit. God has put his hand on my children. He has allowed me to give them a really eclectic childhood that has produced these kids who love to fish and argue on Capital Hill. They  can converse with rednecks, Congressmen, scholars and theologians.
Wow, I am so thankful to God for this gift. I stand amazed that He has allowed me to realize my dream of showing my kids so many different ways of life. My children told me one day last week as we were once again going to some activity downtown, that I was a Fun Mom. Now that is great.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

To Give Up Everything...What Does That Mean?

I wrote this response to an unbeliever who was arguing that the Bible was untrue and that Christians should give up their houses and families and live in the streets to be true Christians.

To lose everything does not necessarily mean to lose your house, family and all your worldly goods. They are a reflection of what you seek for happiness. To truly lose everything, is to die to one's self. That is biblical. And to die to one's self is to not focus on what one thinks as right but to measure every thought by the standard held up by the Bible and then to live it. To sacrifice the natural man's innate desire to please the appetites of the carnal man. To die to self is to lose all desire to please oneself and live to serve others. To focus on how someone else feels, how our presence, attitudes, actions and speech affect the ones around us. We are to clothe ourself in kindness and understanding, remembering that the lost are just that...lost and we are to be compassionate and not judgmental of them. They are already judged and condemned, we are to seek ways to help the condition of man right now, the present time. By doing this we are seen as Christ said "you will know them by their love for one another". and to steal a paragraph from
Jack Watts of Pushing Jesus " This is where Christians stumble all the time. They drive desperate people, caught up in sinful lifestyles, away, refusing to give them the same mercy they required a few years earlier. They embrace pride rather than humility, judgment rather than mercy, and rejection rather than acceptance. They cease to be like the Lord, who loved sinful people."
And because of this, we Christians are seen as failures because most sinners know that Christ sought them out, not the Pharisees or the leaders of churches.
When we live like this, we are truly giving up everything, because our natural self, our sinful self, desires to please our base needs and also our pride, the first sin, seeks to be better than others, instead of less than others. And yet we are instructed to see others as better than ourselves (Phil 2:3) and in this most Christians fail. They fail because they still have the vain belief that they sought salvation, that they sought out the Lord when in truth He had to seek out us because we were dead in our sins and could do nothing of ourselves, being dead.
To truly die to self is pleasing to God, but ever merciful is He that knows in our weakness, we can only aspire to that, failing daily.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A New Look At Ephesians 5

I receive a daily bible verse with a commentary from an organization called The Berean. I love it, it is reformed and usually a great commentary. Today was not any different when I received today's verse from Ephesians 5 vs 25-32. But today I read this passage differently than I had ever read it before and I went and read the chapter in context. This chapter is from Paul admonishing the Christians of Ephesus to walk a holy life. A life that imitated Christ's walk on Earth which was completely without sin. In Christ's life not once did he sin. I can hardly go through a day, even after devotions in the morning, church two times that day and prayers at night, without sinning at least once. I can without reservations say that I sin at least once a day if I am at home all day with no contact with the outside world, if I have contact with the outside world then it goes up to about 10 times plus a few. But the part that caught my eye was in Ephesians 32 and 33. This is where Paul admonishes the woman to respect her husband. Now I have had this verse preached to me for the last 22 years. Like it is a separate command from God directed to the woman no matter what the circumstances. I have to confess that when reading this chapter in the past I overlooked an astounding truth. Now I will ask God to forgive me right here if I am misinterpreting this, but I am sure that I am not. This verse is the result of the verses that come before it. Now the submitting verses starting in verse 22 I believe are directed to the woman but only if the man is acting as Christ does in directing His church. I see very clearly that it is a command to submit to a Godly man. His actions are directed by God and therefore safe for a woman to follow his leadership. When false leaders are presented in other parts of the New Testament, Christians are told to leave that leadership. I believe that it is alright for a woman to not follow an ungodly leader.
Back to verses 32 and 33. These verses follow the Apostle Paul's commands to the husband to love the wife as first his own body then as Christ loved the church. Sacrificial love is what is commanded. This love can be shown in a myriad of ways, actions, both verbal and non verbal. But that is not what caught my attention. It was how this love leads to the verse 32 and 33 when Paul says "However, let each one of you" and I stop here because this implies that his entire discourse was directed at men. All of Ephesians chapter 5. So even the  part of submitting was directed to men implying again that the men must do something to receive the submission, in that case Godly leadership. But in verses 33 the actions of how to love their wives would result in the most coveted of emotions from a woman, not love but respect. It has been proven over and over through studies that love is not the top emotion a man wants from a woman but it is respect. Respect is the result of the commands that Paul gives to husbands. Respect is something that has been thrown like a frying pan on a woman for centuries stressing that it is her responsibility to respect her husband no matter what he does. It is impossible for a woman to respect her husband if he is not a Godly man or a man of integrity. Even an unsaved man who treats his wife with sacrificial love, will get respect from his wife. So how much more will the man who  follows Christ, imitates Christ in his own life get from his wife? He will get boundless love, submission and most of all, respect. This is something the men of the church really need to get a hold of so that their male members will stop holding these verses over women's head as a condemnation and understand their real position in the marriage. It is not a burden for the men to be held responsible for their own wives feelings and reactions, but it is a command, a directive from God. And the rewards are numerous. I have seen families of men who take the responsibility for their families spiritual and physical well being and they are  the families who even through adversity, love and cling together. It is a beautiful picture of the church.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Short Summer

This has to be the shortest summer on record for me. It has gone by like a whirlwind and now the dust is settling and is almost fall. I haven't even taken the girls to a pool this summer. That is not a good Mommy.
Hopefully now that things are settling down I can take them to one next week.

My son came home last night after being gone for almost 3 months. He is 19 now and I was surprised at how easy it was to let him go. Of course I followed him alot! Before you think I am a Stalker Mom, which I am, my son was working on a statewide political campaign for the candidate for the Public Service Commissioner of Georgia. He was the Project Director by title but he did anything and everything that needed doing alongside of the candidates beautiful, talented daughter. She was married. He is 4 years younger than her so they were great working together. But it was the other 15 or so kids between the age of 13 and 21 that were the best.

When my son was 14, I dragged him and I mean literally dragged him to a program called TeenPact. You can find more info here In one week the kids write a bill, take it through committee and then vote on it in the house and senate and then to top the week off they elect representatives and a governor. And then they take a public speaking course. They do this alongside real Senators and Representatives at their state capital. This program is now in 38 states. It is amazing as my son found out within 5 minutes. Needless to say he got so into it he was elected Representative the first year and Governor the next. Then he staffed it the next year and several other states. Another instance of Mommy Knows Best.

The reason I am telling you about this is that the man who founded TeenPact was the one who my son worked for this summer. Because my son is so super special and finally someone other than me and his grandmother saw that, just kidding, his Dad knew too, he was picked to work for this man. And an outstanding job he did I must say. He took care of anywhere from 15-25 students at a time. Almost without fail the kids that came to work on the campaign were TeenPact alumni. My son organized their day to day basic necessities along with a few other brilliant leaders who helped alongside him (Thank you Bre, Melika, Grace, Fred, Joe and Emily) and then they did what stumps adults. With their young elastic minds they navigated the portals of the Voter Registration for the state of Georgia and mapped precincts. These kids had it down to a science. But made it like Recess. I can't even begin to describe what it was like watching these young teens in front of their computers, delving into voter polls, mapping with accuracy neighborhoods into precincts, assigning houses, filling vans with kids and going door to door campaigning for not only the public service commissioner but a gubernatorial candidate and a congressional candidate.
And then while they were doing this very adult job they would break dance in the cars, sing loudly Christian songs, pray for each other, bandage each others accidents, disciple one another and play Ultimate Frisbee.

But what killed me was at night they, the kids themselves, would put together a nightly worship service of songs and prayer and a devotion by a different teen each night. I am telling you some of these kids were better than most preachers I have listened to in my 40 odd years.  They didn't speak to each other in little kid sermons they hit the deep ones that most preachers are scared to tackle: Immodesty, tattoos, premarital sex, a Godly walk in these evil days when the whole of Satan's army are after the young. They nailed it. They absolutely nailed it.  The nights I was privileged to witness these sermons without fail I cried. Not sweet little tears that you dab away but heart tears that you have to go blow your nose! I know that God must have been glorified in these kids. He had to be so pleased.

This is what my son did this summer and every chance we got my daughters and I tried to join him. My girls fell in love with about 6 new big sisters and 3 or 4 big brothers. Those kids left their footprint on my heart too. I can already see that my son misses these kids. They were his sisters and brothers in Christ and they were able to be themselves with each other and just be kids while doing a very adult job. The candidate won the nomination for the Republican party so they know their hard work paid off.

So although it was not a typical summer, and some other things went on too, it was a pretty good one. Now that my son is home we have to get ready for his sophomore year in college, online again, and get the girls back into school mode and me back into teacher mode. Maybe we can hit the pool and beach next week to make up for some lost time!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pioneer Woman rocks

I really want to be pioneer woman. She cooks for her kids every night and according to my 10 year old this qualifies her for sainthood because she is sure it is not eggs and toast. A staple around her for this harried mother. I have no reason to be harried. I sleep too much.There it is. I can finally admit that what my husband has said for years. You get more done if you get up early. But how can you change 40 something years of sleeping late? Let me know if you find the answer to this dilemma. Until then I can dream about serving these wonderful things I find on Pioneer Woman's website. I like to lurk on SmittenKitchen's site too. She has great things going on over there too. I will dream of a consistent posts and daily blog updates. Tomorrow. Because today, I am making chicken salad, homeschooling (more like yelling "have you done your math???) chasing a fly around the kitchen because it will drive me crazy if it lives and going for my horrible yearly exam. Yuck.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Once Busy

My hands were busy through the day
I didn't have much time to play
The little games you asked me to,
I didn't have much time for you.

I'd wash your clothes, I'd sew and cook,
But when you'd bring your picture book
And ask me please to share your fun,
I'd say "A little later son, Son".

I'd tuck you in all safe at night
and hear your prayers, turn out the light,
Then tiptoe softly to the door...
I wish I'd stayed a minute more.

For life is short, the years rush past...
A little boy grows up so fast.
No longer is he by your side,
His precious secrets to confide.

The picture books are put away,
There are no longer games to play,
No good-night kiss, no prayers to hear,
That all belongs to yesteryear.

My hands, once busy, now are still.
The days are long, and hard to fill.

I wish I could go back and do
The little things you asked me to.

Author Unknown

Saturday, April 24, 2010